Today’s entry into The Zephyr Lounge deals with a film that hasn’t been released yet and, depending on how certain parties choose to handle it’s existence, may never be released. Just because I’m a nice guy about stuff like this, I’m going to tell you all — my amazing, supportive readers — that there will be spoilers contained within the text below. Read on if you wish, I’m pretty sure if this movie sees the light of day, no explanation or spoilers will ruin it. I hear it’s THAT good.
The other day, I was told by my wife (who was in turn told by a couple of friends of hers) about a film that took this year’s Sundance Film Festival by storm. Escape from Tomorrow is an indie film in every sense of the word — a gripping, provocative, maybe even slightly disturbing look into the eyes of mental illness and suffering in a place repeatedly called “The Happiest Place on Earth”.
The film’s director, Randy Moore, has presumably created a masterpiece. According to those who wrote about the film after it was screened at Sundance, Moore has created the ultimate guerilla film, shooting Escape from Tomorrow both Disney World and Disneyland while those that run The House of Mouse, along with their theme park employees, were completely unaware of the project. From a standpoint of cinematic integrity, critics were stunned by Moore’s audacity to create such a project and praised the film for it’s use of monochrome and surrealism to generate a “neo-noir” effect for the film, effectively drawing comparisons to indie titans like Roman Polanski and David Lynch.
Here’s the trailer, which apparently doesn’t do the film itself enough justice.
Drew McWeeny, known also by his pseudonym Moriarty, had this to say about what he saw at Sundance:
“It is not possible that this film exists. It is not possible that they shot long scripted sequences on the actual rides. It is not possible that I just saw a film in which it is suggested and then shown that the various Disney princesses all work as high-priced hookers who sell their wares to wealthy Asian businessmen. It simply cannot be true.
I grew up in Florida, and I have been going to Walt Disney World my entire life. I worked at that park. I’ve been there as a child, as a teenager, as an employee, and as a parent. I’ve done Disney sitting on my father’s shoulders, and I’ve done Disney parks with my kids on my shoulders. It is a huge part of my DNA, and I can tell you that there is no way Randy Moore pulled off what I saw last night. It is a film that should not exist by any rational definition.
And yet… not only does it exist, but it’s fascinating.”
The film is scheduled to be released into theaters and video on-demand through PDA, a distribution off-shoot of Cinetic Media, on October 11, 2013. While I count the days until it’s available, I am worried about the possibility of backlash from Disney, who as we all know, go to great (and at times, fucked up) lengths to protect their intellectual property. Interestingly enough, Disney has been “aware” of the film’s existence since Sundance, and has even included an entry for the film in their online supplement, Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia. The question is if Disney is going to seek legal action against Moore and Cinetic Media/PDA over the film. So far, Disney hasn’t really commented much, save for an article published by The Hollywood Reporter, in which Disney is planning to avoid the film altogether in an effort to prevent the film from achieving more publicity.
I guess Disney is wanting to avoid the Streisand Effect.